To approve and sanction; to make valid; to confirm; to establish; to settle; especially, to give sanction to, as something done by an agent or servant; as, to ratify an agreement, treaty, or contract; to ratify a nomination.
When a State officially informs the United Nations that it accepts the legal obligations contained in an international treaty. The State does this by depositing its instruments of ratification in the place specified by the treaty, for example with the Secretary-General of the UN. Once the treaty has entered into force, states who have ratified the treaty are bound by it. At the time of ratification, states will often record their reservations to certain parts of the treaty.
The process by which a government agrees to accept an international convention. A representative of the country first signs the convention, thereby indicating that it is considering the issue. South Africa became a signatory to the Climate Convention in 1993. Once the cabinet and parliament have agreed to be bound by the treaty, it is ratified by a declaration in the Government Gazette and a formal letter to the Convention secretariat. This took place on 29 August 1997. Between signing and ratifying, the country is an observer to the treaty, but not a member of the Conference of Parties, and cannot vote.
To confirm or make valid (an act, compact, promise, etc.) by giving consent, approval, or formal sanction (esp. to what has been done or arranged for by another). (Operational Rules, Article I, Section 1; Article IV, Section 11, Item 4)